SELIM I° (reigned 1512–20), Ottoman sultan. The son of Sultan *Bayazid II, Selim was the ninth Ottoman sultan. Demonstrating military prowess, he was favored by the army over his elder brother Ahmed to succeed his father. He succeeded within a short time to ward off the Safavid (Persian) menace and to destroy the *Mamluk Sultanate, annexing *Syria and *Egypt and the Muslim holy places in Mecca and *Medina to his domains. Through these conquests, the *Ottoman Empire became the leading Muslim power.
Jewish exiles from Spain and Portugal were welcomed by the Ottoman sultans. Joseph *Hamon (d. 1518) became Selim's physician. The sultan displayed a benevolent attitude towards the Jews and permitted the construction of new synagogues. Elijah Mizrachi was the chief dayyan of Constantinople and in Selim's time there existed the office of *kahya, i.e., a liaison officer between the Jewish communities and the government, among whose functions was the collection of taxes.
S. Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, vol.1 (1976), 79–86; M. Rosen, A History of the Jewish Community in Istanbul, 1: The Formative Years, 1453–1566 (2002), index; H. Inalcik, The Ottoman Empire the Classical Age 1300–1600 (1973), index.
[Butrus Abu-Manneh (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.